The View From Fr. Raph’s Window

October 4, 2020

This year, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi falls on a Sunday. It was going to be quite  the celebration – we would have had our annual pasta supper on Friday, then the Blessing of the Animals on Saturday (which we still had), and the 60th Anniversary Mass on Sunday afternoon with the Bishop, who would have blessed the new statue afterwards. Hopefully, next year we will be able to have our celebrations, commemorating the first time Mass was offered in the Church building.

Usually the feast of a certain saint is on the day of their death, or Heavenly birth. There are a few exceptions, such as St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers, who died on Good Friday, and so his feast day was moved to his birthday instead.

On October 3rd, Franciscan communities around the world celebrate the “Transitus” of St. Francis – the “passing.” On the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14th, in the year 1224, St. Francis had a vision in which he received the mystical phenomenon called the stigmata. He was taken to several cities in the area in an attempt to treat his wounds, as well as an eye infection which would eventually cost him his sight. Feeling that the end of his life was near, he asked to be brought back to the Porziuncola, to where he first gave his life to God.

He called his companions and friends, who came to see him in his last days. They prayed together, sang together, read from the Gospels, he gave them some final admonitions, and blessed them.

Although it was mixed with sadness, St. Francis also believed that death was also a time to celebrate, for his lifelong search for the Creator Who loved him was coming to an end. And to this end, St. Francis asked a noblewoman, Bl. Jacqueline de Settesoli, to bring him some of her almond cookies, which he liked so much, one last time. And from this story comes the tradition of sharing almond cookies on the vigil of the feast of St. Francis.

September 27, 2020

This Sunday marks the last of our three First Communion weekends. The importance of making one’s First Communion is something we can take for granted, to the point that perhaps we don’t stop and think about why it even matters – only that for some reason we need to get it done. You may have come across the headline back in 2019, that according to a study by the Pew Research Center, only 1/3 of US Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and that the rest believe it’s only a symbol.

This is of course only a statistic, and factors like the sample size of 10,971 respondents – whereas the in 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated that there were around 51 million Catholic adults in the US – should be taken into account.

But truth be told, COVID-19 aside, we don’t usually see parishes packed, except on Christmas Eve and Easter. And it is not uncommon for people to say things like: “I can just pray at home” or “Jesus said wherever two or three are gathered – not just in Church.” And while those two things are true, it’s undeniable that Jesus also said: “Do this in memory of Me.”

And this is why First Communion is important – not just because to participate in the Eucharist is something Jesus commanded His disciples to do. But because the Eucharist is God’s “yes” to us in the midst of our uncertainty. At every Mass, before the words of institution, we hear “on the night He was betrayed…” – Jesus is no stranger to uncertainty and danger. He gave us the gift of His Body and Blood, His Real and enduring Presence in the midst of uncertainty and danger. As we nervously take in news reports and prognostications about second waves, we need more than ever to know and experience God’s “yes” to us. And to share this with our children as soon as they are able to receive it is why First Communion matters, especially in our uncertain

September 20, 2020

Much has been said about how our society has never been more connected through technology and social media, while simultaneously being disconnected on a personal level. Even socially influential people such as Michelle Obama have been saying things like: “We have to get off the phone and knock on doors and talk to each other face to face.”

I regularly run into Catholics who say things like: “I’m gonna be honest Father, I haven’t really been going to Church… but I pray, and my faith is important to me, and my values, and I try to be a good person.”

Compare this with, say, St. Monica’s last words to her son St. Augustine, which we hear in his Confessions: “Lay this body anywhere, let not the care of it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the altar, wherever you be.”

For St. Monica, the deepest sense of connectedness for her was in the Eucharist, so
much that dying and being buried outside her home country did not bother her, as long as her son – who was still a layperson at the time – would remember her whenever he participated in the Eucharist. The Eucharist was a connection for them that not even death could separate.

Perhaps our culture’s tendency to prioritize factbased learning and task orientation has influenced our sacramental preparation programs, imparting necessary facts “about” the Eucharist, and seeing the Eucharist as a kind of educational tool, which, once “learned,” can be safely left behind.

Yet, for those who have truly “learned” from the Eucharist, this is unthinkable. I see this especially in bringing Communion to the homebound or people in healthcare settings. Their deep appreciation for the Eucharist was not a result of reading about it in books or formal instruction, but of living it, and discovering it as the source of connection, of the interpersonal communion which is the Church.

This Sunday’s Gospel is the origin of the English phrase “the Eleventh hour.” Certainly it is better to discover this often overlooked dimension of the Eucharist late in life than not at all, but we pray that our culture, starving for real connection, will discover what it is looking for sooner, rather than later.

September 13, 2020

This weekend marks the first of our three First Communion weekends. Like everything else, they were thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result of the precautions, they will take place at a separate Mass in the afternoon for the following three Sundays. Even though most of us cannot be physically present at these precious occasions as we normally would, we can still be reminded by the witness of these children of the great gift we have in the Eucharist.

Do you remember your First Communion? What was it like? Who helped to prepare you for it? Would you say that your appreciation for the Eucharist has deepened since then?
In my reading this week, I came across this old story from China. This story happens to be the one which inspired the Venerable Fulton Sheen to make a private promise to Jesus that he would make a Holy Hour (an hour spent in prayer before the Eucharist, either exposed in the monstrance, or simply in the tabernacle) every day for the rest of his life. This practice, while not mandatory, has become nearly ubiquitous in North American seminaries, and is recognized as an ideal for priestly formation.

“. . . A priest had just begun Mass when Communists entered and arrested him and made him a prisoner . . . Shortly after his imprisonment, the Communists opened the tabernacle, threw the Hosts on the floor and stole the Sacred Vessels . . . About three o’clock one morning, [the priest] saw a child who had been at the morning Mass open a
window, climb in, come to the sanctuary floor, get down on both knees, press her  tongue to the Host to give herself Holy Communion . . . Every single night she came at the same time until there was only one Host left. As she pressed her tongue to receive the Body of Christ, a shot rang out. A Communist soldier had seen her. It proved to be
her Viaticum.”

For me, the words of Jesus: “…Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 18:3] immediately come to mind, and those of St. Paul: “…But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” [1 Corinthians 1:27]. What great love had God impressed on this girl’s little heart that moved her to do what she did?

Next week, we will look at the relationship between the Eucharist and the Church. Until then, perhaps we can take it to prayer this week, and have a conversation with God about the various people in your life over the years who stick out in your memory, whose instruction or example have been an inspiration that helped you deepen your
appreciation for this great Sacrament.

September 6, 2020

This week we welcomed Fr. Murray, who officially began as Pastor on Tuesday September 1st, at 12 noon. Although the only thing necessary for a new Pastor to begin his role is his letter of appointment by the Bishop, the installation of a Pastor is a meaningful and informative ceremony in the life of a parish. Some of you may have been present for Fr. Tim’s installation as Pastor. We will not likely have one anytime soon given the pandemic, but I thought I would share a few thoughts and describe
it for you.

We live in a very pragmatic culture, where if something is not “necessary,” then why
bother? My fellow seminarians and I said the same thing leading up to our receiving the ministry of Lector. At first we thought it was pointless. After all, we had been reading at Mass for years like anyone else, and after we were officially installed as Lectors, nothing would change – we would still read at Mass, just like before.

But I remember during the actual ceremony, it was different. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and through the Holy Spirit, is continuing to guide the Church to this very day. Right from the very beginning, Jesus has chosen to work with and through knuckleheads like us, but that hasn’t stopped Him in the past, and it’s not about to any time soon.

And in light of this, there’s just something different about being officially entrusted with responsibility by the Church, witnessed by the Christian community, even if it’s something one has been doing for some time already. In our information age, we tend to forget there is something different about being present in the moment for an actual

There are variations, but the installation of a Pastor usually begins with an introduction of the new Pastor by the Bishop and a reading of the letter of his appointment. He then makes his profession of faith and takes his oath of fidelity, and the Liturgy of the Word begins. Although a priest does not usually receive a blessing before going to proclaim the Gospel, in this one case, the new Pastor goes to receive the Book of the Gospels from the Bishop, and also a blessing. After the Bishop’s homily, the new Pastor is invited to renew the promises he made at his ordination, and is then led by the Bishop to the various parts of the Church and reminded of his responsibilities in each place. The new Pastor may also be introduced to representatives of the parish staff and various parish groups. And at the end, the new Pastor usually has an opportunity to address his new parish community.

Installation or no installation, this can be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on, and be
reminded of all the many things that go into making our parish, with which Fr. Murray was entrusted with last Tuesday.

August 30, 2020

As I approach the end of my term as Administrator of St. Francis parish on September 1st at 12 noon, and return to being the Associate Pastor here, I thought I’d look back on a few things I’ve learned in the past two months.

First, a few people have asked me over the past two months what the difference is between an Administrator and a Pastor. According to the Code of Canon Law, there is basically not a huge difference. An Administrator is for all practical purposes the temporary Pastor: “A parochial administrator is bound by the same duties and possesses the same rights as a pastor unless the diocesan bishop establishes otherwise.” (Canon 540 § 1) And an Administrator is encouraged to basically keep things in a holding pattern until the next Pastor is appointed.

The biggest difference I am aware of between the two is that the Bishop may move an Administrator at any time, for any reason, while a Pastor does have some rights to stability. Second, it’s been a good learning experience for me to take on new responsibilities – if only temporarily – and to reflect on my own style of leadership. Navigating the re-opening of St. Francis during COVID has involved some trial and error, and creativity on the part of our staff and from you, to observe and adapt to the guidelines from the Diocese while trying to serve our mission all the same. I would like to thank you for your patience, co-operation, and continued generous contributions during these uncertain times.

And finally, the focus or raison d’être of parish administrators is not merely to manage the goods of the parish, but to be “administrators of the mysteries of God” as St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians. Thankfully with the reopening of the parish and the restrictions due to COVID, most of my time has been focused on that – we’ve had a similar number of funerals and baptisms, one wedding, the sacrament reconciliation by appointment, individual anointing of the sick and communion to the sick, and our usual Mass schedule. But it’s also a reminder to me that what we find to be the norm in most North American parishes – having only one priest – is not really how it’s supposed to be. For most of the past two months, I have felt like I was merely
“catching up” to the next thing. But when Fr. Tim was still here, the division of labour allowed us both to expand our horizons and branch out to more than just sacramental ministry within the walls of the parish, more mission than maintenance.

And so I have a renewed appreciation to pray for new vocations to the priesthood and to the Congregation of the Resurrection specifically, so that we can have some more of that missionary creativity and dynamism.

August 23, 2020

Last Saturday August 15th, on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – with masks and all the other restrictions we have gotten used to living with by now – four new priests were ordained for service in the Diocese of Hamilton. You can find pictures of his happy event on the Diocese of Hamilton website.

Although I was not able to attend the ordination itself, I was invited to one of the priests’ first Mass of Thanksgiving the next day. In uncertain times like our own, it is nice to have events like these which are signs of hope. For that hour or two (bilingual Mass, a long homily, some cultural observances, and a bilingual thanksgiving speech by the newly ordained), I forgot about all the problems of life and things I had to do, and just
participated in the Mass.

A few things stood out for me that Sunday afternoon. Like an ordination, a first Mass of
Thanksgiving is meant to be an experience of the Church – something bigger than just our home parish. Various people who have played a role in some way in the journey of this newly ordained priest are present – priests, family, friends, neighbours, etc. The homily is traditionally not preached by the newly ordained priest, but by a priest who has been a mentor to him. And so it’s kind of like being able to “listen in” on some parting advice from one priest to another.

It’s also wonderful to see all the children present – from the parish, or relatives of the newly ordained, or his friends’ children. I don’t think children realize that priests come from among us, from among ordinary people in the pews, like you and me. Children usually see a priest on Sundays and assume that they’ve always just been there. But
every priest has a story, and maybe these children might think about what their story is going to look like when they grow up.

And finally, there is of course the tradition of the first blessing. I can tell you from my recent memory, to have so many people seek out the Church’s blessing through you is something very humbling for the priest. It really underscores the role of a priest, which is to give God’s gifts to the people. And it really underscores that it is not about the priest. There is nothing special about the priest himself – he isn’t some saint or holy person – he was literally ordained yesterday. He has nothing to give them, nothing except God’s

Let’s thank God for giving us these new priests to serve the Church, and let’s remember to pray for these newly ordained priests, that they will be blessed, and a blessing to others in their many years of ministry that lay ahead of them.

August 16, 2020

This past week, on August 11th, we celebrated the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. At the age of 18, she heard St. Francis preaching during a Lenten service, and was so struck by it that she sought him out afterwards and begged him to help her to “live according to the Gospel.” She, one of her aunts, and another woman met with St. Francis and his companions, had their hair cut, and exchanged their rich clothing for a rough tunic and a veil, vowing themselves to the Lord. Initially known as the “Poor Ladies,” they were later named “Poor Clares” in her honour, and are present in 75 different countries around the world.

You may have noticed that our Reconciliation Room at the back of the Church is dedicated to St. Clare, and is called the “Reconciliation Chapel of St. Clare.” She wanted with her community, to follow the example of St. Francis and his companions in
living evangelical, or Gospel poverty in a very particular way: not having any property to their name either personally or as a community, but relying entirely on God’s providence. When Pope Gregory IX tried to offer Clare and her community a dispensation from such a strict vow of poverty, she replied to the Pope: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but not from the obligation of following Christ.”

And in the narthex, when you enter the Church through the front doors, you will see on your right, our original statue of St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio. On your left, you will see an icon of St. Clare. Usually St. Clare is depicted holding a monstrance, or a lily – like in the small picture outside the Reconciliation Chapel. But this icon has St. Clare holding a cross with 5 red dots on it, representing the 5 wounds of Christ – His hands,
His feet, His side. And this really is what was at the heart of St. Francis and St. Clare’s very particular kind of evangelical, or Gospel poverty. It was not merely trying to live a simple lifestyle, or poverty for its own sake. It was a lived response to what St. Paul says in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “…For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

It was their recognition of this immense gift we have received, of what Jesus has done – which like any gift genuinely received – invites a response. We are not all called to this particular kind of poverty. But this does not also mean that evangelical, or Gospel poverty is not for ordinary Christians either. It was reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Happy Are You Poor when I was in university which helped me to realize that we are all called to evangelical, or Gospel poverty, according to our various walks of life. As Jesus says
in the Gospel of Matthew: “…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

August 9, 2020

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit a friend and former classmate of mine at his new assignment. He had a lot of things to do when he arrived there, and he had called me earlier in the week with a question about polishing items for the sanctuary. One of my house jobs in seminary was to clean and polish the sacred vessels, as well as metal candelabra and followers. And so I offered to visit him at his new assignment and to help.

That was a house job I really enjoyed – it was very satisfying to help make something go from being tarnished to being shiny. But as I reflected on what I was doing, I was reminded of a video I had seen a number of years ago. (You can watch it in full here)

Since the re-opening of the Churches, we’ve had several baptisms (though with only one family and their guests per baptism, and outside of Mass). Soon three siblings who are in the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children), who were supposed to receive the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist – at the Easter Vigil this year, will finally receive them in a separate Mass, in accordance with the Diocese’s precautions and guidelines for re-opening the Churches during the pandemic. And in September, our First Communicants will finally be able to receive their First Communion, again at a separate Mass, following the Diocese’s precautions and guidelines.

As Msgr. Joseph Hirsch, the priest in the video points out – as beautiful as the artisanship may be on the most beautiful chalice, and no matter how shiny one may make it through polishing – each of these children who have received, or are about to
receive the Sacraments of Initiation, each one of them is more beautiful, more important than the most beautiful or intricately designed sacred vessel. And if this is true of them, then it is also true of each and every one of us who has received Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

August 2, 2020

As some of you may have seen in last week’s bulletin, I’m assisting with a Virtual Pilgrimage this coming week, from August 1st to 8th. It was originally an eight day walking pilgrimage that began in 2003, from Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph to the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland. I participated two or three times in my university years, and recently was invited to join once again in 2019. I was looking forward to going again, but like everyone else around the world, my plans had to change. The idea behind the Virtual Pilgrimage is not to re-create the pilgrimage experience, but to offer the essential elements – through virtual means.

This is in no way an advertisement or a promotion. But the pilgrimage has been on my
mind lately, and so I thought I’d share three lessons that pilgrimage has taught me about Christian Life: The Christian Life is a journey. Unforeseen things happen along the way that are often outside our control, like weather, injuries, and route obstructions. But we can’t just stop, or give up. We’re going somewhere, and we need to keep moving forward, with the help of others.

The Christian Life is a communal journey. On a pilgrimage, people come from different
backgrounds – personal histories, faith traditions or lack thereof, reasons for doing the pilgrimage – and yet we find ourselves together. The sheer quantity of time spent together sharing food, laughter and experiences, helping one another, and even walking together in silence, can break down barriers and become a little foretaste of the Communion of Saints.

Third, the Christian Life is not about proving your worth. This particular pilgrimage has been dedicated to the Canadian Martyrs, and we often say: “we’re here to celebrate the martyrs, not to make them.” Just like how God gives different gifts to different people, there are different roles on a pilgrimage, and accepting our limitations that arise can give us the opportunity to discover other essential roles we did not know about, which make the pilgrimage possible – like the support vehicles, the set up crew, etc.

From the records that have been handed down to us, the Canadian Martyrs seem to have learned these lessons first-hand in their missionary work among the First Nations people. And it helped them witness to the Gospel way of life, which they ultimately signed in their blood.

July 26, 2020

This past week on July 22nd, we celebrated the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles. You may or may not remember that back in June of 2016, Pope Francis re-elevated the status of her memorial to a feast day. This decision both emphasizes the importance of women in the mission of Christ and His Church, and is more in continuity with the development of the Church’s tradition over the centuries.

Other than the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene is the only other woman whose day has the rank of a Feast. With a few exceptions, the only other Feasts in the liturgical calendar are mysteries of the life of Jesus, and the feast days of the Apostles. But in past centuries, more prominence was given to St. Mary Magdalene. For example, we know that in the Middle Ages, the practice developed of reciting the Creed during Mass on her feast day – something we only do on Sundays and Solemnities now – to reflect how she, the Apostle to the Apostles, was the one who first announced faith in the Resurrection to the Apostles.

Much ink has been spilled over the centuries and more recently, as to whether Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Martha, and the anonymous repentant woman who anoints the feet of Jesus, are the same person. There are a variety of opinions on this question among the Saints and Doctors of the Church. What we can say, however, is that she is not St. Mary of Egypt, with whom her story was sometimes confused in the past, nor is there any substantial tradition identifying her with the woman caught in adultery.

But more relevant for our times is what happened on that morning of the Resurrection. As we know, the Risen Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb, and she doesn’t recognize Him at first, because she is so intent on finding the dead body of Jesus. And it’s only her encounter with the Risen Jesus that allows her to let go and be led by Him into her vocation as the Apostle to the Apostles.

Many people have compared the present pandemic as an experience of grieving our
“normal” life, of being at the tomb. But the way forward for us, disciples of the Risen Jesus, is to seek Jesus as best we can in the midst of this, and to wait for Him to call our name, like St. Mary Magdalene, and to lead us forward in our vocations.

~ Fr. Raphael CR

July 19, 2020

This past Friday July 17th was the anniversary of the ground breaking or sod turning for St. Francis of Assisi church. We had been hoping to have some kind of commemorative event like a tree planting or something like that, but as we all know, everyone’s plans were interrupted by the global pandemic.

We’ve posted some historical photos on the website from that day, and I invite you to check them out.

Perhaps in this time of COVID-19 with all the social and physical distancing that we’ve had to do, we are in a place to appreciate in a new way the blessing of having an actual physical space in which to worship God.

Certainly we can and should pray wherever we are, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel: “…But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:6]

But Jesus also wants us to gather and pray together as a community of believers, above all, at the celebration of the Eucharist. If not, He would not also have said to us: “…Do this in memory of me.” [Luke 22:19]

And so we continue to thank God for the gift of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, for all the hard work and generosity of volunteers, donors, parish staff, and all the faithful who have made our parish what it is today.

And on a more personal note, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite pieces of music, which comes to my mind when I think of Church buildings. It’s a motet entitled Locus Iste – often sung at Masses for the dedication of a Church – which in Latin means “This Place.” The most famous setting that I know of, is by the Austrian Composer Anton Bruckner, and is easy to find on the internet if you want to give it a listen. The words are loosely based on Jacob’s exclamation after his dream about the ladder, and what God said to Moses at the burning bush:

Locus iste a Deo factus est,
inaestimabile sacramentum,
irreprehensibilis est.

This place was made by God,
an inestimable mystery,
it is without reproach.

~ Fr. Raphael CR

July 12, 2020

Another little milestone in our gradual process of re-opening will be the first Baptisms to be celebrated in our parish since we had to close our doors back on March 16th.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the precautions that the Diocese of Hamilton has instructed us to observe, we are not yet able to celebrate Baptisms during Mass, as is our custom here at St. Francis.

However, even though Baptisms will have to be celebrated outside of Mass for the time being, and with only one family at a time and their guests, Baptism is still Baptism, and we are pleased to welcome the two newest members of the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, and St. Francis parish this weekend.

And I think especially given recent events in the news, this is a good opportunity for us to reflect on one of the effects of Baptism – being welcomed into the Church.

Baptism makes us members of the Church throughout the world, and throughout history, the Communion of Saints, the Body of Christ – of which St. Francis parish is a vital part.

We believe that even from the standpoint of creation alone, because all people have same nature and origin – created in the image and likeness of God – we are different, though equal.  “Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (CCC 1935)

But not only are we created in the image and likeness of God, as Christians, we have an even deeper identity than any differences.  We are also reconciled with God through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, and through Baptism, made members of His body, which triumphs over all divisions:

“…For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Galatians 3:27-28]

Certainly the Church in different places and periods in history has failed to live up to and manifest this teaching and our Baptismal identity.  But there have also been times and places where it has courageously witnessed to this truth as well.  So as we welcome these new children of God, and all the others who will be baptized during the remainder of the pandemic, we can thank God for the gift that He has placed within each of us, which transcends all other differences.

~ Fr. Raphael CR

July 5, 2020

As many of you know, along with Churches throughout the Diocese of Hamilton, we were able to re-open our doors a few weeks ago. I’d like to thank Fr. Tim, the parish staff, and our volunteers for all the preparation, protocols, and precautions that went into making this possible.

For those of you who have been able to join us in person, thank you for your patience and cooperation with the various safety precautions required by the Diocese of Hamilton, such as:

  • Following the strong recommendation to wear a non-medical mask or face covering
  • Sanitizing your hands upon entering the Church
  • Sitting where directed by the ushers to maintaining physical distancing
  • Not having hymnals in the pews (but we still have music!)
  • Maintaining physical distancing at the sign of peace and in the Communion procession
  • Receiving Communion in the hand, and without speaking
  • Maintaining physical distancing as you exit after Mass

Also, with the help of volunteers under the direction of our building manager, Gary Howell, all touch points in the Church are disinfected after each Mass.

For those of you who have not yet been able to join us again in person – I know you want to, but have good reasons to not do so just yet – please be assured of our continued prayers for you at Mass. We look forward to the day when you can join us once again. Since I’ve been asked by a few parishioners, I’d like to remind you the Bishop has reiterated that our obligation to participate in Sunday Mass is temporarily suspended until further notice, in light of the ongoing pandemic.

To all of you who have continued to support us with your regular Sunday offering as well as other donations, thank you. Thanks to your continued generosity in these financially uncertain times, we are no longer eligible for the Canadian government’s emergency wage subsidy. This is a good thing. Our donations were only down 21% for the month of May, as opposed to the required 30% to be eligible for the wage subsidy.

Finally, although we have been able to re-open the Church for Mass, there are still limitations on inperson programs, and so we are trying to do our best to stay in touch and to walk with you in our journey of faith. I welcome any suggestions and new ideas you have about how we can do this in the months ahead.

~ Fr. Raphael CR